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Ankylosing Spondylitis – What Is It And How Is It Managed?

How does Ankylosing Spondylitis Occur?

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Stretching exercises are usually advised for patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis, but with the recommendation of a professional.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of inflammation that commonly affects the joints and the spine. The targeted joints are the sacroiliac joint located between the sacrum and the iliac bones. Because the sacroiliac joint connects the said lower spines, inflammation on this area causes stiffness and pain around the spine and the joints. When the inflammation becomes chronic, it leads to the cementing of the spine and joints (known as fusion) – this process is called as ankylosis. Over time, this debilitative chronic condition leads to the loss of movement in the spinal area.

Can this Condition be Prevented?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inherited condition, which means that, unfortunately, it cannot be prevented at all. The main goal of prevention and management are focused on the prevention of complications and monitoring of possible side effects during treatment.  The good thing about ankylosing spondylitis is that most patients treated can have full active lives as long as symptoms are properly controlled and side effects monitored.

What are the Common Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Symptoms that are commonly seen in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis include stiffness in the buttocks and back, pain in the lower back or middle body, lower body pain and stiffness that starts from the ligaments and tendons to the heels of the feet.  Keep in mind, though, that symptoms usually vary from one person to another; some symptoms may appear on one person and may not on another. The similarity, on the other hand, lies on the fact that symptoms increase during rest and relieves during activity.

What are the Various Treatment Options for this Condition?

Medications are ultimately the treatment of choice for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Major medications include anti-rheumatic drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics for pain and corticosteroids. These medications help reduce the inflammation of the joints and spine, relieve pain, and prevent the progression of the disease into a chronic stage.

In order to address mobility issues, physical therapy and exercise are usually recommended to the patient. These also involve maintenance of proper posture, deep breathing techniques to reduce pain, as well as stretching exercises to increase joint and spine mobility. However, it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional, because every therapy and exercise regimen vary from one person to another – methods for increasing mobility are individualized for each patient.

Understanding some of the basics about Ankylosing Spondylitis is necessary to prevent the disease from progressing. While the main goal is to self manage and engage in healthy lifestyle, having a good knowledge also prevents patient from seeing their physicians frequently due to emergencies.

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Related Video on Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Sources:

“Ankylosing Spondylitis.” Web MD. Retrieved online on June 8, 2014 from http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/ankylosing-spondylitis?page=2

“Ankylosing Spondylitis.” Better Health Channel. Retrieved online on June 8, 2014 from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Ankylosing_spondylitis

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